Koan

  • The Sound of One Hand Healing Paid Member

    I broke my hand last year. I knew immediately it was broken by the exquisite, searing pain. I have experienced my fair share of pain, from kidney stones in rural India to joint pains from 40-plus years of long distance running, but never a fracture. So when the edge of my hand hit the corner of the wall as I catapulted forward off the last step down the hallway in my house, I knew by the rapid elimination of my many previous causes of pain that this was fracture pain. An integral, internal bedrock structure had snapped like so many trees after a strong storm. More »
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    Did Bodhidharma Invent the “Mu!” Koan? Paid Member

    A monk asked Zen master Zhaozhou, “Does a dog have buddha-nature?” Zhaozhou replied, “Mu!” “Mu!” is one of a handful of Zen stories from ancient China that have become famous. This koan has served as the “Gateless Gate” into Zen for countless students in China, Japan, and elsewhere. Though it is often attributed to Zen master Zhaozhou (Japanese: “Joshu”), the story’s origins stretch further back into history. As I point out in my book Tracking Bodhidharma, there is some evidence that the story goes back to the nominal founder of Chinese Zen, the first ancestor Bodhidharma himself. The connection between Bodhidharma and the "Mu!" koan can be found in an old Chinese ditty of unknown origin that goes More »
  • Facebook Koan Paid Member

    Yesterday's Daily Dharma... What we call "world" is only an opinion.... Take away your opinion, your condition, situation—then your mind is clear like space... clear like a mirror. A mirror reflects everything: The sky is blue, tree is green, sugar is sweet. Just be one with truth—that's Zen style. If your mind is clear like space, then you see clearly, hear clearly, smell clearly—everything is clear. That is dharma. That is truth. -Zen Master Seung Sahn ...caused a woman to track me down on Facebook and send me this message... More »
  • Understanding "Understanding" Paid Member

    In response to the week 2 talk on koan practice of Gerry Shishin Wick, Roshi's Tricycle Retreat, "The Great Heart of Zen" a participant writes: More »
  • Three Good Reasons to Study Koans Paid Member

    What are three good reasons for studying koans? First of all, koan study is an efficient and effective means to bring students to realization of their true self. Second, koans attract type A personalities and goal-oriented people to meditation. Third, they give you something to think about while meditating.  What are three really bad reasons? See answer to question one. -Gerry Shishin Wick, Roshi, from his 2005 Tricycle interview "Give and Take: On Studying Koans" Koan practice is the subject of Week 2 of Shishin's Tricycle Retreat.  To hear Shishin discuss the practice further, click here. More »
  • Bonnie Myotai Treace on Generosity and Attention Paid Member

    Week 2 of Bonnie Myotai Treace's Tricycle Retreat begins today. In this week's talk she elaborates on last week's theme of generosity and introduces the theme of attention. While stressing the importance of attention in practice she tells a story of a Japanese Emperor that visited a Zen master asking for a great teaching.  In response to the Emperor's request the master painted a calligraphy of the character for 'attention.' The Emperor thanked him but stated he was looking for more of a teaching than one simple character. Upon being asked to elaborate on this teaching, the master's response was simply to once again paint the character on another piece of paper and hand it to him.  This apparently went on for quite some time.  Eventually the Emperor saw that this repetitive action WAS the great teaching—that one must come back to attention again and again and again. More »